England vs Costa Rica World Cup 2014: Why should you watch the final Group D game when England are already out?

It's not all doom and gloom for England as they could become the Unofficial Football World Champions this evening

England will see their World Cup participation come to an end today when they play their final Group D match against already-qualified Costa Rica.

LIVE: Follow today's games, including England v Costa Rica, Italy v Uruguay and events in Group C

Back-to-back 2-1 defeats to Italy and Uruguay mean that England cannot qualify for the second round in Brazil, and the squad will be heading home at the earliest opportunity in what has been one of their worst ever showings at a major tournament.

With the allure of a showdown between Uruguay and Italy to decide who will join Costa Rica in the last-16 beginning at the same time as England’s encounter, many Three Lions supporters have admitted that they are tempted to watch the match in Natal rather than England’s farewell in Belo Horizonte.

But why should you watch England’s final game in Brazil? Here are a few reasons why.

Video: Preview of England v Costa Rica

England are out to avoid making history of the wrong kind

England have never participated in the group stages of a World Cup and failed to secure a single point. As a result, the current crop of World Cup failures will be desperate not to write their names into the history book for all the wrong reasons. On top of that, an England side hasn’t failed to win a World Cup game since the 1958 tournament in Sweden, where the Three Lions were knocked out after consecutive draws against Brazil, Austria and the Soviet Union. Should current Group D leaders Costa Rica emerge victorious, the Class of 2014 will be remembered as the worst England squad to grace the World Cup.

 

Premier League fans can get another look at Joel Campbell

The talk of Costa Rica’s squad has been their striker Joel Campbell, who is set to return to his parent club Arsenal following the completion of the World Cup after a season-long loan with Olympiakos. The forward made his impression last season in the Champions League against Manchester United where he scored in the 2-0 first leg victory. He further enhanced his credentials by netting in the opener for his country as Costa Rica shocked Uruguay 3-1, and the 21-year-old could have a major say in the outcome of tonight’s game. Who knew Arsenal had a striker that could score goals?

Joel Campbell celebrates scoring for Costa Rica Joel Campbell celebrates scoring for Costa Rica A view to England’s future

Roy Hodgson has taken the unusual approach of naming his team on the eve of the match, and if he stays true to his word England will field one of the youngest sides in their history (bar the ageing Frank Lampard). Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere will all get a run-out and if they snatch their chance to impress, they could form the core of the England squad for years to come. Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill are the only players who have kept their place from the opening two defeats, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones set to receive another chance to show that they are capable of performing on the international stage.

Italy will be holding out for a draw

The Italians aren’t widely known for playing beautiful, attractive football at the best of times – the defeat to Costa Rica proved this once again – so imagine how they will set out if all they require is a draw. With Uruguay’s goal difference sufficient to Italy’s Cesare Prandelli’s side will know that as long as they keep a clean sheet, they won’t be heading home just yet.  Added to that is their record of six draws in their last 10 internationals – the only win in that run coming against England – and the prospect of an absolute belter in Natal seems to fade away by the second.

Gerrard and Lampard could announce their international retirement after the World Cup Gerrard and Lampard could announce their international retirement after the World Cup End of the ‘Golden Generation’

While they have ultimately failed to deliver on their promise, tonight’s match is likely to be the last time fans will see Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard feature in an England shirt – providing the former comes off the bench. The pair have amassed 218 caps between them but at 34 and 36 respectively, they are unlikely to feature in plans to move England on from the disappointing campaign in Brazil.

The next time you’ll watch England in a major tournament is two years away (at least)

Everyone always enjoys going to the pub with their mates of hosting a party to watch England together, so you might as well make the most of it. With England facing a rather easy qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, the next time the Three Lions will play a truly competitive fixture will be in two years’ time. Having waited that long to see England crash out of the current tournament, you might as well get your fix of international football before everyone turns their heads towards the Premier League (53 days and counting).

Read more: Hodgson announces young guns
Hodgson needs victory to ease the painful journey home
England out to avoid making history of the wrong kind

England can win the (unofficial) World Cup

Uruguay came into the tournament as the holders of the Unofficial Football World Championships, but their defeat to Costa Rica saw the Central American nation take the not-so-famous accolade. They managed to see off the threat of Italy in the first match, meaning that England can take the crown if they manage to beat Jorge Luis Pinto’s side this evening. Every cloud has a silver lining, although this one’s more of a darker shade of grey.

Who else are you going to support?

Who would you rather support from the second round onwards? Germany? Argentina? How about France? Didn’t think so. Well, with pre-tournament expectations believing Costa Rica would finish plum-last in Group D, why don’t you get behind the so-called “minnows” and get a good look at them before cheering them to World Cup glory? Having already qualified, Costa Rica will meet one of Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan or Greece in the second round with Group C still up for grabs.

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